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Jul 15, 2009 04:45 PM

Orange County Favorites

I'll be dog/housesitting at my parents for a couple of weeks starting later this month. Any recommendations on great food that's on the cheaper side? Any type of food is fine - Mexican, Italian, sushi, burgers, etc... Preferably in the Irvine/Tustin/Orange area, but willing to go farther for great food! Thanks in advance for your recommendations!

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  1. strawberry croissants at japonais bakery (tustin), sammies at claro's market (tustin), le diplomat (irvine), epicurie by pascal (newport beach but border of irvine), darya (costa mesa), felix (orange), jalapenos (franchise)

    4 Replies
    1. re: namstermonster

      I believe the actual name of hte Japanese bakery is Cream Pan. There's a Darya in Orange (on Tustin Ave) that might be closer to the OP....

      Darya Restaurant
      1998 N Tustin St, Orange, CA 92865

      Cream Pan
      602 El Camino Real, Tustin, CA 92780

      1. re: OCAnn

        yah i still call it cream pan too but i believe they changed the name to japonaise bakery when they expanded.

        1. re: namstermonster

          Maybe I'll compromise and call it Japonaise Panderia. Thank you for the 411! =)

          1. re: OCAnn

            It's got both names on the side. "Cream Pan" is larger. They've taken over that whole building there now, with the bakery on the "inner" side and the cafe on the side closer to the street.

    2. Best Cheap Eats in O.C.
      Indian: The Rupee Room in Orange-Great $6.99 Lunch Buffet
      Dosa Palace in Tustin

      Mexican: El Gallo Giro in Santa Ana-The best Tortas in O.C.
      El Gran Jenal in Costa Mesa-The real thing, my friend

      Italian: Di Simone Bakery in Huntington Beach- Good as Italian Sandwiches get
      Cortina's in Anaheim

      Asian Buffet: West Coast Seafood in Huntington Beach- Huge array of well-made
      Chinese and Korean dishes. The sushi ain't bad either.

      Chinese Sam Woos in Irvine-Hong Kong Style
      Wong's in Westminster-Old School Cantonese

      Breakfast: Harbor House in Sunset Beach

      Burgers: The Counter in Irvine. A bit pricey, but well worth it for quality and innovation


      3 Replies
      1. re: ChefRoux

        Thanks so much - these sound great! I do love Claro's and Jalapenos, so I think the rest are right on track! And ooh I didn't know there was a Counter in Irvine, only been to the one in Santa Monica. Thanks!

        1. re: ChefRoux

          California Fish Grill - Irvine
          Fukada - Irvine, japanese soba and udon combos with rice bowls for good price
          India Cook House - Irvine, Lunch buffet 7 days a week for $9
          Veggie Grill - 2 locations in Irvine
          Naan and Kebab - Tustin
          Scottie's Smokehouse - Orange, reasonably priced bbq
          Santouka - Costa Mesa ramen
          Anything Vietnamese - Westminster/Garden Grove, just search for Little Saigon

          1. re: groover808

            Two of my favorite eateries from when I went to UCI are on this list-Fukada and the Veggie Grill. Don't be concerned about the latter being a vegetarian spot, it's terrific. Their sweet potato fries are delish. Sidestreet Cafe in Costa Mesa is another place I would recommend-good, hearty breakfasts and lunches at a great price

        2. Champagne Sunday Brunch is amazing at Taps in Brea. Great food, wonderful service, and housemade microbrews are available if you don't want champagne. Normal service is just as delicious...I love all of their seafood dishes...drunken mahi mahi and Chielan sea bass are particularly impressive!

          Taps Fish House & Brewery
          101 E. Imperial Hwy., Brea, CA 92821

          2 Replies
          1. re: attran99

            I love Taps Sunday brunch too, but at $35, it's not quite on the "cheaper side."

            1. re: OCAnn

              Very true....but after a Sunday trip to Taps...I don't eat for the next 36 hours. :)

          2. Good cheap eats, my specialty

            Tustin / Santa Ana area around the 55.

            Malibu Fish Grill - inexpensive and high quality fish served as plates, salads, sandwiches and tacos. On 4th

            Ono Ono Hawaiian BBQ on 17th. Awesome Polynesian/Korean food. Try the cold macadamian noodles Yum. It's on 17th. In that same area is the Crab Cooker and Zov's Bistro, a bit more expensive, but worth it.

            In Tustin on 1st, Pina's Italian. It's in a strip mall but the restaurant is high end. Delicious food, but I think kind of pricey. ($15.00 for spaghetti and another $5 if you want a meatball). Further down 1st heading into Tustin is Naan & Kabob. Quality Persian, the name says it all. Also down 1st is The Sandwich Box. Creative sandwich like the Southern that's made with ham, swiss cheese and fried green tomatoes.

            On Main in Old Town Tustin is Rutabegorz. It's a fun restaurant with good salads, wraps, pasta, sandwiches and bakery. Also in that area on El Camino Real is Beach Pit BBQ. They have great brisket and sweet potato fries. Same street is Honda Ya for yakatori and sushi - but not so cheap. Still on that same street at the end in the same parking lot as Curtain Call Theatre is Long Hai for Vietnamese. There is also a real divey bar in that lot. I forget the name but we had a geat time there.

            If you want to head into Santa Ana, you'll find some wonder Mexican food choices.You'll get lots of recommendations. Here's one you can try. On 1st and Grand is Pena's Mexican. They offer cochinta pibil which is not common on most menus. Further down 1st towards Harbor is Siam Taste of Asia. Wonderful Thai and I would highly recommend the fried tofu. It's addictive.

            If you want to drive a bit, you can head west to either Little Seoul on Garden Grove Blvd. around Brookhurst or Little Saigon, again at Brookhurst in Westminster. You can't miss it. :-) I don't go to Little Seoul too often, but I love grocery shopping in Little Saigon. The abundance of seafood is amazing and the prices are incredibly cheap.

            Enjoy your stay!

            3 Replies
            1. re: mollygirl

              I love Pina's - it's so good, been there many times. Is the Malibu Fish Grill new? I can't believe I haven't stumbled across it before. Thanks so much for all your suggestions!

              1. re: chris1621

                Malibu Fish Grill has been about 3 years or so. It actually backs up to the 55 and I think you can see the sign from the freeway. I know, Pina's food is so good and she is a lovely hostess, but for me it's a bit expensive.

                You're so lucky to have many good choices close to you. I had mentioned the Curtain Call Theatre. It's a dinner theater and while not hound food, it's surprisingly good for the type of venue it is and the plays are really entertaining. Might be worth checking out.

                1. re: mollygirl

                  That could be fun, thanks! Also, have you tried Oscar's Deli? It's in the same shopping center as the Ono Ono Hawaiian BBQ place. I hear their sandwiches and salads are really good and cheap!


            2. Greek Island Grille is my favorite "everyday" restaurant in southern CA. It's family run, very inexpensive, and serves delicious, fresh, large portions of Greek food that always leaves me satisfied. Every time. It's right across from South Coast Plaza on the corner of Sunflower and Bristol.

              4 Replies
              1. re: OC Mutt

                Yum, the menu sounds great. And much more affordable than the only other decent Greek place I know of in the vicinity, Christakis. Thanks!

                1. re: chris1621

                  The bifteki is totally addictive, and the meletzanosalata and hummus are the best I've ever had outside of Greece.

                  1. re: OC Mutt

                    Great, thanks for the recos! I just came back from Greece about a month ago and have been missing the good food! How's their tzatziki? I like it garlicky :)

                    1. re: chris1621

                      It's fantastic. And unlike most Greek restaurants that charge you $8 for two tablespoons of the stuff, they are quite generous with it - I'm not even sure if it's on the menu, they just include it with a lot of dishes. Ask and you shall receive.